House of Commons Hansard #14 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was post.

Topics

1:50 p.m.

Liberal

Rodger Cuzner Cape Breton—Canso, NS

Mr. Speaker, I have a question for my colleague.

We have to remind Canadians watching this debate that this is a lockout. CUPW has been engaged in something that is absolutely legitimate and has been part of bargaining for years in our country, and that is rotating strikes, bringing attention to their cause and issues.

For Canada Post to go to the lockout, and I know this may be conjecture but I would appreciate the member's opinion on this, does he not think Canada Post would have had some indication from its insider sources that the government would support this by coming forward with back to work legislation?

1:50 p.m.

NDP

Thomas Mulcair Outremont, QC

Mr. Speaker, the question is well posed, but I will take a slightly different tack in answering it.

What incentive remains for an employer to settle? What incentive remains for an employer to act in good faith? What incentive remains for the employer to sit down, bargain and get a result in the public interest, because that is what we are all here to defend?

However, Canada Post has their gang on the other side saying not to worry, even though the union has not broken a single law. On the contrary, it has respected every letter of every law, but we should not worry about that. It locks the workers out, then blames them and then special legislation is brought in because it is good for its base.

This is Ronald Reagan politics 101.

1:50 p.m.

NDP

Brian Masse Windsor West, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask my colleague a question about the position in which the workers have been put.

The intervention that the government has taken is like using a sledgehammer on the workers. These men and women have served ably under a government-run business for a number of years. They have been committed to our country and to their work. We actually have one of the best recognized postal services in the world. The government has decided to use this approach to undermine the bargaining process and reduce it to the point where they are in the back seat. Would my colleague expand upon that?

Not only has the government not allowed the workers to have the process take place, it has interfered to ensure their wages, their values and also their pensions are diminished. It is a strategic plot by the Conservatives.

Again, it is important to recognize that these workers are locked out. They want to be at work, but they need a fair and just agreement.

1:50 p.m.

NDP

Thomas Mulcair Outremont, QC

Mr. Speaker, my colleague from Windsor West makes the point extremely well. In fact, the workers had been using their rights under their collective agreement, under existing legislation. They had been showing their determination to get a settlement that would work for everyone.

At the same time, not only is the member right when he says that Canada Post employees are among the best of any post office in the world, which is a subjective evaluation, the objective fact is the price of a stamp in Canada is a lot lower than in most comparable countries with an economy similar to ours.

It is an extremely well-run operation, and that is thanks to the men and women who do the work there.

1:55 p.m.

Conservative

Dean Del Mastro Peterborough, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have very simple questions, and I would hope that democracy within the NDP works better than it does within CUPW.

Is the member aware that there have been three contract offers made by Canada Post over a series of months and the workers were not allowed an opportunity to vote of any of them, and that includes Canada Post's most recent offer? Is the member aware that there are salary increases in there for the workers? Is he aware that there is pension security in there for the workers? Is he aware that the issues that matter to the members of CUPW are addressed in that contract? Is he aware that they have not, as workers, been given the opportunity to vote on that contract offer?

1:55 p.m.

NDP

Thomas Mulcair Outremont, QC

Mr. Speaker, is the member aware that we will not get a chance to vote on those salary and pension increases because the government has lowered them and removed them from the specific legislation that is before the House?

CUPW has respected every article of every statute. All the workers' rights are being defended by CUPW. The problem is that the employer's offers are being lowered because of the interfering, manipulative government that wants to pick a fight with the workers.

The workers were locked out and the government pointed to them as being the problem. It is lowering the offers of the employer and pointing to the workers as being the problem, but it is the government that is the problem.

1:55 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have some concern as I listen to the Conservative's attempt to turn the postal workers of Canada into the kicking dog of their ideological campaign.

I ran a small business that was dependent on mail service. I ran a magazine for 10 years. Every day I was at the post office to see if cheques had come in to get our product out.

A number of magazine owners have contacted me. They said that they did not want this lock out to be used as an excuse to attack the postal workers, even if it affects their business. People at various magazines are saying that they trust the workers at Canada Post. They understand that the government has picked a fight and it figures the public will turn away from the postal workers.

If the government gets away with this with the postal workers, then folks back home should know that it will come after every other bargaining sector and do the same thing. This is the line in the sand.

Could my hon. colleague comment on that?

1:55 p.m.

NDP

Thomas Mulcair Outremont, QC

Mr. Speaker, that is precisely right. If Canada Post gets away with locking out its workers and then blaming the same workers for not working, if the government gets away with tabling a lower offer than was already negotiated and then turns around and wonders why the workers are not voting on it when the workers are not able to vote on it because the government has just lowered the offer, then that is their goal.

The government's goal is to put so much pressure on honest working men and women in this country that no one will stand up for their rights any more.

I can guarantee one thing. There is one party that has been standing up for workers' rights for the past 50 years and will continue to do so. It is the New Democratic Party of Canada.

1:55 p.m.

Conservative

Dean Del Mastro Peterborough, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would view that last statement somewhat differently. There is one party beholden to big union bosses in this country. That happens to be the New Democratic Party of Canada.

When it comes to being responsible, when it comes to being accountable to Canadians, I would note there was virtually identical legislation brought to bear in this House in 1997. There is precedent for this.

However, I would argue that if the member feels that what is being proposed is so outrageous, how can he sit in this House and claim that he supports CUPW when it will not even allow its own members to vote on contract offers?

Is that what he supports, an organization--

2 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Barry Devolin

The hon. member for Outremont.

2 p.m.

NDP

Thomas Mulcair Outremont, QC

Mr. Speaker, here are the facts.

The union respected every single rule every step of the way. The union is using a right guaranteed by the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, something that the Conservatives apparently know nothing about. The workers were unable to get the same offer in this legislation.

What is happening is this. We have an employer that has locked out the workers. They are pointing to that as being the problem. It is a problem created by the government.

When one deals in good faith, one negotiates in good faith, visor up and takes it straight on. When one is a bully, one does not respect the law and then changes it on behalf of the boss who is not negotiating in--

2 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Barry Devolin

Order please. It being 2 o'clock, we will move on to statements by members.

The hon. member for London West.

Women of Excellence Awards
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Ed Holder London West, ON

Mr. Speaker, each year the YMCA of Western Ontario awards the Women of Excellence Awards to some of the many outstanding Canadian women who call London home.

This year, as in all years, its decision has not been an easy one, but I congratulate it on choosing an exceptional group of women to honour. Each of these women has worked tirelessly to improve the London community. They include: Ramona Lumpkin for education, training and development; Judith Rodger for arts, culture and heritage; Helen Connell for business, professions and trades; Ruthe Anne Conyngham for community, volunteerism and humanity; Donna Bourne for sport, fitness and recreation; and Sandy Whittall for health, science and technology. Moreover, the Olympians Tessa Virtue and Christine Nesbitt were celebrated for their outstanding achievement.

This annual event is a celebration of excellence and a small way in which Londoners can thank these remarkable women for their contributions.

On behalf of all Canadians, and especially those in London, let me thank them once again for making a positive difference to so many lives.

Food Security and Sovereignty
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

NDP

Alex Atamanenko British Columbia Southern Interior, BC

Mr. Speaker, along with farm groups from 66 countries, Canada's supply managed sector is calling for coherence between trade agreements and international treaties on poverty, hunger, climate change and biodiversity so that countries can better meet food security requirements.

Our farmers are saying that trade agreements must not take precedence over food security.

It is no secret that the Canadian Council of Chief Executives has formally called on the Prime Minister to sacrifice the Canadian Wheat Board and our supply managed sector. We see the government already moving to destroy the wheat board by 2012. We also know that if the current WTO Doha round is signed, each dairy farmer stands to lose approximately $70,000.

I am asking the government to respect the underlying principle of food sovereignty as laid out in the international call for coherence. It could begin by rejecting any proposal that would weaken our ability to maintain supply management or our Canadian Wheat Board, both of which are vital to our long term national food security interests.

William Teleske
Statements By Members

June 23rd, 2011 / 2 p.m.

Conservative

Peter Goldring Edmonton East, AB

Mr. Speaker, William Teleske fought with the Loyal Edmonton Regiment in the Italian campaign. In late 1943 he was in the Battle of Ortona, called the Stalingrad of Italy for its ferocity. Christmas was a short reprieve from the front lines to a bombed out church for dinner.

In Christmas 1998, Bill returned to Ortona with 30 veterans of his regiment and of the Three Rivers Regiment, Royal 22nd Regiment, Provost Corps and the Seaforth Highlanders. They visited their 1,400 fallen comrades resting at the Moro River Canadian War Cemetery and wondered: “So why not me?”

Then they shared Christmas dinner in the rebuilt church, this time with their foes of old, a wonderful expression of the hopefulness for world peace in the season of Christ meant for such reflection.

Bill passed away on Sunday, June 19.

Bill Teleske was respected for his service to his country and will be missed by his family and his many friends. We will not forget.